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Hello!  So it’s J.R. again, taking over Beth’s missive.  It seems appropriate, given these uncertain and scary times, to acknowledge what we’re all going through.  My state has been on lockdown (Safer at Home, it’s called) officially since  March 26th, and as a family, we’ve been social distancing and staying inside since March 23rd at 7:49 pm when the virtual signing team left my basement.  Not that I’m counting.  No, really.
 
Most of the people I know, and granted I’m not a real social person, have adjusted fairly well.  And by that, I mean they’re not consciously stressing every moment of the day.  But that’s only on the surface.  Underneath, everyone is low-level panicked, and it’s coming out in odd ways.  For me, I’m going hardcore OCD.  I check locks and recheck and recheck.  I can’t seem to convince myself that everything is safe.  I have dreams where I’m back in school, but I haven’t done my homework for the entire semester and final exams are coming and I’m f*cked.  (It’s always an English class for some reason.)  I am incredibly jumpy, so if my husband comes into my room, I spaz out like it’s a mugger. 
 
Strange things are utterly overwhelming.  We had a sewer back up in the basement and I was like, How do we have plumbers come?  (They came, wore masks and gloves, and everything was fine, but it seemed insurmountable.)  I have some low level dental work that needs doing and I’m wondering when it will be safe to go.  What does safe even mean?  My cars haven’t been driven, and I’m pretty sure the tires on at least one of them may be ruined because of the weight of it.  My husband is the designated food shopper in my household and I pester him about washing his hands the instant he gets back in the house even though he wears gloves (and a mask.)
 
Back when all this started, my husband said we were going to social distance through June and likely be in the house until then.  I freaked out because I was convinced (going on emotion and absolutely no empirical data at all) this was going to pass in two weeks.  Yeah, because a global pandemic is like that.  Now, as we are into May, I’m all up in my head about things opening up.  What’s going to happen, you know?  How will I keep the sickness out of my house as my husband goes out into the world (my daily life really hasn’t changed at all.)  He will wear a mask and be safe, but will others do that?  The choices of strangers, good and bad, have never felt more impactful.  I know we’re doing what we’re supposed to (and so are the folks we know.)  But there are some people who aren’t.
 
Looking to the summer, I’m wondering if there will be summer camps and whether my kid will be safe.  We made plans to go to the lake and I don’t know whether that’s safe (or even possible.)  And going into the fall, what about college sports, especially my beloved Cardinal basketball which starts in early November.  Will the games be held with spectators?  Will they be held at all?  This seems like a frivolous concern, but I’ve never appreciated the extent to which sports effects my life in a positive way until it is gone.  Of course, the safety of the student athletes comes first for me.  But I hope the games are played- again, though, only if it’s safe. 
 
This whole thing has caused me to reexamine a lot of how my life was going.  Sometimes, I catch myself wondering whether it’s even happening- and not in the conspiracy theory sense, more in the holy f*ck, so much of the world is on lockdown aspect.  This is one of those epic events that happens in people’s lives, something that is so dispositive and pervasive that it will be remember keenly for decades thereafter.  It will also change how things are done and create a new normal that will persist.
 
I truly hope everyone is safe.  And I remain SO grateful for all essential workers and our healthcare professionals and first responders.  I am sheltering at home and anxious.  They are on the frontlines and at a risk-level I cannot begin to comprehend.  Without them, our whole social structure falls apart.  They are literally all that is between us and complete chaos and sickness. 
 
Please stay safe and be safe for others.  We rise or fall together in this.
 
Sending all love to you and yours,
 
JR
Dear Vishous,
 
You know how they say never to spy on people?  Well, I think I understand why now.  And listen, it happened by mistake so none of this is my fault.
 
As you know, humans are quarantining at home.  I’m 25, my sister’s 23 , and we both moved back home with our parents at the start of all this.  She and I bicker a lot.  We always have, I mean, two sisters, so close in age, sharing a room for a lot of our growing up until our old brother went away to college?  What else can you expect.
 
Needless to say, quarantine’s been GREAT.  When we get snippy, over basically anything, my mother’s impulse is to bake something and my father yells at us.  So we’re all getting fat and growing hoarse.  Wisely, my brother stayed on the West Coast, although I’m pretty sure he can hear us out there from here in Minnesota.
 
Here’s the problem.  My sister is a “free spirit.”  Or so she calls herself.  What that translates to, when it comes to her, is that she is not responsible for the consequences of her actions and choices.  As it relates to what happened with this eavesdropping, she was dating this guy for a year.  I’ll call him Rob.  He was a good guy.  He put up with her whims and ever-revolving circus of interests and ohh-shinies.  Predictably, she found someone else she was into and cheated on him.  I say “predictably” because she’s done this before.  She broke his heart.  Still, he was mature about it, and tried to reconcile, but eventually, he moved on.  Found someone else.  Started dating her.  They’ve moved in with each other.  It’s been about two years since he’s been with my sister.
 
Anyway, my computer was updating, so I asked her if I could borrow her laptop to answer some work emails.  She gave it to me.  As I’m on it, these notifications start popping up from Insta.  They’re from Rob.  It becomes clear to me that she’s been talking to him, telling him all this sh*t that he’s the only one she’s ever loved.  That they’re destined to be together.  That she can’t wait to see him as soon as quarantine is up. 
 
He’s falling for it.  Look, my sister hasn’t mentioned this guy since they broke up.  She’s seen a number of guys since, all of whom she maintained was The One.  Until she found someone else.  Rob’s with a nice girl.  From what I understand, they’re good.  My sister is bored and the fact that he’s with someone makes him interesting because it’s a challenge.  But I guarantee that the instant she gets him to walk from this woman, and quarantine is over, my sister is going to spiral off in another direction and leave Rob with nothing.  He will have ruined a perfectly good relationship over my sister’s bullsh*t.
 
My question is, should I let him know?  Should I tell him that he’s not the only guy she’s talking to?  Because that’s the other thing.  When I went into her DMs, there are these messages from other men.  She’s going after three others!  It’s just such bullsh*t and I’m tired of watching her f*ck up other people’s lives. 
 
I appreciate whatever guidance you can give me on this.
 
Sincerely,
 
Enough is Enough
***********************************************
 
Mary:  First of all, Enough, I am glad that your family is doing the right thing and self-isolating.  I’m also sorry about the stress that it is causing.  This is not uncommon, I’m afraid.  Now, on to your sister-
 
Vishous:  Stay out of it.  This is not your circus, not your clowns-
 
Mary:  V.  Let’s first acknowledge some other aspects of this situation, shall we?
 
V:  So you agree with me.  Staying out of this is best.  Why beat around the bush?
 
Mary:  Because there are a lot of other things to consider.  For one, I think we need to acknowledge that this is a difficult situation to be in.  Enough is right.  She learned of this inadvertently, and as a result of what she knows, she’s in a hard spot- during quarantine, when she’s unable to get a break from her sister.
 
V:  Her sister is a toxic user.  The guy, Rob, already knows what she’s like, firsthand.  He’s got a hard lesson to relearn if he falls for that sh*t again.  *takes drink from Grey Goose on ice*  If he loses a good woman over this?  Well, maybe next time, he won’t f*ck with the sister.
 
Mary:  *rubs her temples*  It’s not that you’re wrong-
 
V:  Which would mean I’m right.  You can say it, you know, it won’t hurt you.
 
Mary:  Listen, Enough, I empathize with the situation you’re in.  Further, it sounds as if you are frustrated with what you perceive to be a pattern of thoughtless, and perhaps even cruel, behavior of hers.  So I understand why there would be a temptation to intercede, especially because it is clear that you respect Rob.  But V is not wrong-
 
V:  Vishous is RIGHT, is what she means to say-
 
Mary:  -so, yes, I would advise staying out of this, as difficult as it may be.  Rob, unfortunately, is in a precarious situation.  But he needs to make his own choices.  As an objective observer, you are making conclusions based on the past, which is not wrong.  But you are not responsible for Rob or your sister, and you must let them find their own ways. 
 
V:  Which is Mary’s way of saying, I’m right.  This is not your circus-
 
Mary:  I am NOT referring to this as a circus.  We are talking about people’s lives.
 
V:  Idiots’ lives if he takes the sister back.
 
Mary:  Vishous, you’ve got to stop judging people.
 
V:  No, I don’t.  This is V’s Agony Aunt column.  If they want someone else’s opinion, they need to write to them.  If they write to me, they’re going to get mine.  And mine is that Rob has his head wedged if he thinks this is a good idea, and if he’s dumb enough to fall for it, he deserves what he gets.
 
Mary:  *shakes head*  Enough, I feel for your position.  And I understand your frustration.  I urge you to put this aside, however, and focus on your own life.  Being cooped up with the same four people creates specific challenges, and you may be using this situation as a focal point for your own pent up emotions.  This is totally understandable, but I fear that if you confront your sister, you’re going to make your living situation even more of a challenge.
 
V:  Plus, honestly, has it ever worked before?  It’s not a hard extrapolation that you’ve tried to talk to your sister before.  I mean, this cannot be the first time you’ve stumbled on one of her boneheaded stunts.  Has it worked in the past?  You getting all up in her face and trying to get her to see sense?  I’ll bet it hasn’t.  Don’t waste your breath.
 
Mary:  That’s a good point-
 
V:  *smiles*  I know, right?
 
Mary:  Yes, it is.  And this is why I’m urging you, Enough, to focus on yourself, not her and the chaos she appears to create. 
 
V:  You know, the real truth is that sooner or later, this kind of sh*t catches up to people.  Your sister will get hers, too.  I’d want the other shoe to drop if I were you, and it will.  Maybe not in the way you want it to, but I believe in Karma.
 
Mary:  You do?
 
V:  *finishes Grey Goose*  Yeah.  I musta done some sh*tty-a$$ stuff to get stuck with Lassiter as a housemate.
 
Lassiter:  *from off in the distance*  I heard that!
 
V:  *under breath*  F*cker is like lint.  Everywhere, including my f*cking navel.  Enough, I feel for you with your sister, I really do.
 
Mary:  Okay, so that’s kind of narcissistic empathy, but I’ll take it where I can get it.  Enough, this is a tough situation, and from what you’ve laid out, your sister can be a real challenge and that is putting it lightly.  But unfortunately, this situation has two willing participants in it who are adults.  I hope that it doesn’t end badly for the ex and fear that it will.  However, I think you need to take care of yourself by staying out of it.  Please let us know how you’re doing, if you can.  Until next month, we’ll see everybody later.  Stay safe out there!

 
So Vishous got poked in the eye two nights ago.  How, you might ask me?  It’s a long story involving a pool stick- and I would like to point out that given we are solidly in the Jane Era of his life, a question like that has a much more mild explanation than it would have during his hardcore leather-hold-the-lace period.  Anywho- oh, and no, Lassiter wasn’t in the mix.  Which was a miracle for which we are all grateful. 
 
Long story short, V and Butch were at a pool table in the Billiards room, V ashed on himself, and in his attempt to brush the ember off the back of his non-gloved hand, he fumbled the stick, leaned over to get it and tried to turn his left eyeball into the cue ball.  He’s fine.  Doc Jane checked it out, but she made him wear an eye patch so he looked like  a pirate.  Butch and I put a stuffed parrot plushie on his dinner plate and Phury offered to let him borrow one of his prosthetics if he wanted to play peg-leg.  Oh, and then there were lots of nice-blue-eye-shadow comments because when he did it, he had just chalked up his tip (don’t ever say that again) when the accident happened.
 
Good times.  But I digress.
 
V, needless to say, was grounded.  He wanted to go out to fight, but if you have no depth perception, it’s not safe.  Plus now that the lessers are kaput, we’re not sure what exactly we’re fighting.  Talk about waiting for the other shoe to drop....
 
Bottom line, I was off rotation anyway, and for some unknown reason, I asked V if he wanted to watch a movie with me.  Why I volunteered to spend time in his presence without a gun to my head remains a mystery, but sometimes people make questionable choices. 
 
He agreed.  As long as he could pick the movie.
 
So that’s how I ended up reviewing Heathers this month.
 
For those of you who have been living under a rock, or are under the age of forty, Heathers is the 1988 movie staring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater.  First off, I want to acknowledge that, given that it’s thirty-two years old, it has some very antiquated social morays sh*t in it, so you need to get past that, and after the violence in schools of the last couple of decades, none of this could possibly be released in theaters now.  Secondly, there is stuff about suicide in it so this is not a movie for everybody.  Finally, I should have known V would pick something dark and twisted.  It turns out he loves this movie, and really, considering a bunch of teenagers die in it, can we be surprised.
 
Basically, three girls, all named Heather, are the popular girls at this high school.  Veronica, the fourth in the group, is an outsider, but very much in their orbit.  A new boy, JD, played by Slater, comes to school and Veronica and he fall in love.  Sh*t begins to go south when the main Heather threatens to ruin Veronica’s reputation and Veronica and JD go over to her house and decide to f*ck with her.  Veronica thinks they’re making an OJ and milk concoction to make her throw up because she’s hungover, but JD takes it a step further, and the main Heather dies.
 
Specifically, the girl falls face-first onto a glass coffee table.  I can still hear V chuckling when it happened.
 
How is this guy not a serial killer?
 
Other deaths ensue, perpetrated by JD with Veronica as an unwilling wingman.  Eventually, she breaks up with him and he targets her.  There’s a showdown between the two of them during a pep rally, and spoiler alert, JD blows himself up outside of the school at the end of the movie.
 
V was cheered up by the film, and left the movie theater in a chipper mood.  Which just proves he’s hardwired a little different from the rest of us. 
 
For me?  I don’t know.  It didn’t work all that much for me.  Here are my thoughts, good, bad and meh.
 
1)  I can’t figure out what it wanted to be.  Was it an allegory?  (Check me out with the high level thoughts lolol)  Was it dark comedy?  Was it just a fantasy?  The whole thing is like a fever dream, where stuff only looks right on the surface.  Like, there is absolutely no f*cking way most of the sh*t would have happened.  I guess, in a way, the fact that it was so impossible made it possible to watch it.  Otherwise, the sh*t is really tragic.
 
2)  I do like watching movies that are old for the clothes and the cars and what the houses look like.  The inside of the school, too.  That’s always cool, although that is not specific to Heathers.  There were a lot of shoulder pads on the girls’ clothes, for instant, mini-Joan Collinses and Morgan Fairchilds running around.  Plus, hello, scrunchies.
 
3)  I did like it that the Chandler chick got it bad.  She was a b*tch and the main antagonist.  And I liked the red scrunchie, the fact that whoever was wearing it was the one in charge- and Veronica got it in the end when she tore it out of the other Heather’s hair.
 
4)  The scene after the showdown with Winona Ryder’s face all smudged and her hair out of joint, smoking a cigarette, was great.  I did like that.  Even though she was seduced, briefly, by the dark side, she did the right thing in the end.  And the final scene of the movie, with her walking down the hall with Martha Dunnstock on her mobility scooter doing circles around her, was awesome.  I loved that.  It made me feel like everybody was going to be safe. 
 
5)  Aging is weird.  Okay, so I know that’s a strange thing to put into a movie review, but given that Bits and I have been watching Stranger Things (natch, above lol,) I’ve gotten used to seeing Winona Rider as she is now.  But Heathers Winona is just slightly older than Beetlejuice Winona and the same age as Edward Scissorhands Winona.  To witness the aging process is kind of a mind f*ck, but that’s the way it is with photographs and videos.  The person is as they are when they’re young, and you kind of think they stay that way.  This is not the case.  It’s kind of depressing.
 
All in all, no offense to the cult following, the movie was a pass for me.  There were just too many times that my suspension of disbelief wire got tripped.  For instance, there is no way in hell the deaths at the school wouldn’t have caused a massive police/parent response.  No way.  But more than that, the content is disturbing and everything else doesn’t elevate enough for me to forget about that.  Like if there was a message or something that really got to me, maybe it would work better.  Yes, it’s great that the bullies got it, but Slater’s character is an irredeemable sociopath and skeevy as f*ck.  I’m glad Veronica won in the end, and that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t go far enough to drag the rest of the film into daggers up territory for me. 
 
But hey, it worked for V.  So there’s that.  *shudders*
 
Until next month, I wish everybody happy viewing!
 
Hugs, Rhage
Okay, so I’ve been accused of making this column all about me.  I could debate that, as I believe there are so many aspects to me that they don’t generalize into anything- but I’ve decided to cave to the peanut gallery and choose a neutral topic.  As a reminder, here are the rules.  Five rounds on a topic of my choice where there is a pro and con.  Coin toss determines who goes first to pick the side.  At the end of the rounds, a winner is determined by a disinterested third party, and the Jelly Donut of Victory is awarded. 
 
This month’s topic:  Hawaiian pizza vs traditional pepperoni and sausage.
 
This month’s Donut of Victory:  *flips Dunkin’ lid*  This month we have a lovely Boston crème donut, which is chocolate covered and crème filled.
 
Naturally, there is only one person who could do this justice, and Rhage has agreed to assume the mozzarella mantle with me.
 
Rhage:  *bending over box*  That is a beautiful donut.  I’m hungry.  Why did you buy only one?
 
Lassiter:  Well, it’s not Donut(s) of Victory so-
 
Rhage:  *shakes head*  You need to think out of the box.  Or more like, more in the box.
 
Lassiter:  I will take that under advisement.  Okay, so the coin toss results were, I picked heads and I won.  Of course I am going for Hawaiian! 
 
Round I
 
Pro (Lassiter):  Ham is good on anything.
 
Con (Rhage):  Okay, I totally agree with you on that.  But that is not the problem I have with the Hawaiian monstrosity.  FYI, if you would have chosen pepperoni and sausage, I would have walked.
 
Lassiter:  You would have quit?!  It’s pizza!  All pizza is good.
 
Rhage:  No.  Pineapple on pizza is an affront to nature.  It violates all laws of order.  There is no way I can find any argument in favor of ham and pineapple pizza. 
 
Round II
 
Pro (Lassiter):  Pineapple is not an affront to nature on pizza.  It is ensuring you do not get scurvy.
 
Con (Fritz):  Pineapple is absolutely an affront to nature on pizza and if you’re worried about scurvy, try orange juice.  It’s in the refrigerator.  Next to the fresh cut pineapple which is NOT on a pizza and is actually quite good.
 
Lassiter:  You are not interested in your health.
 
Rhage:  I am interested in the integrity of pizzas everywhere and that is why you don’t need to fulfill your RDA for vitamin C on a frickin’ pizza.
 
Round III
 
Pro (Lassiter):  Hawaiian pizza is a tropical adventure on a plate. 
 
Con (Rhage):  I do not want a tropical adventure on my pizza. 
 
Lassiter:  That is prejudicial against pineapple.
 
Rhage:  No, as I said, I like pineapple.  I just don’t like it with tomato sauce, cheese and ham.
 
Lassiter:  FYI, you are coming perilously close to small minded imbecile territory.
 
Rhage:  You just watched six hours of Who’s the Boss.  This makes you an expert on imbeciles.  I believe I should be worried.
 
Lassiter:  *blinks*  I think you just insulted me.
 
Rhage:  You want I make a diagram to help you understand how?
 
Round IV
 
Pro (Lassiter):  It’s about the taste profile, not the ingredients.
 
Con (Rhage):  The ingredients are the taste profile.  So no.  Just no.
 
Lassiter:  Have you ever had Hawaiian pizza?
 
Rhage:  ...................
 
Round V
 
*forty-three minutes later*
 
Pro (Lassiter):  Hawaiian pizza is terrific.  Eat it.  *holds out slice*
 
Con (Rhage):  I’m not going to like it.  It’s an abomination against nature-  *takes bite**chews*
 
Lassiter:  You can say it.  G’head.
 
Rhage:  *eyes popping*  This sh*t is amazing!
 
Lassiter:  *Rocky victory dance*  I win!  I win!!
 
***************************************
Judge’s Corner

 
Lassiter:  Since my opponent has conceded- and is eating all of the Hawaiian pizza Fritz whipped up (to be fair, Fritz was ready as I had a feeling how this was going to go)- no judge is needed and I will enjoy the Donut of Victory- which, once again, is this lovely chocolate covered crème filled one.  *eyes Rhage*  How you doing over there sport?
 
Rhage:  MMMMPHMMPHMMmmmmmmmm
 
Lassiter:  Just give me a thumbs up.
 
Rhage:  *thumbs up*
 
Lassiter:  I think this is the best Point/Counterpoint yet!  *bites into Donut of Victory*  Until next month, eat well!
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